Its seems simple enough. If you showcase value/benefit to your members, they will be loyal to your organization. Member loyalty leads to engagement and even further, renewals-two words that make any Association leader happy.
When we start diving into communication strategies and effective methods for member engagement, Association leaders immediately start to worry about resources. How will this affect their already time-constrained staff? How much time has to be dedicated from their team to make a virtual environment successful? The biggest piece of information that I like to stress is that most of these organizations are ALREADY DOING THE WORK! They are already creating great pieces of content, hosting informational and educational events and lectures, developing thriving committees and programs; the key is translating those all those efforts into a sole virtual environment-where the members have access at any time.
A thriving virtual environment is providing benefits/value in ways that are easily accessible and digestible to members on the go. Members have more distractions and busier schedules than ever before and the organization’s job is to evolve so that the benefits it offers are accessible on-the-go and meet the members changing needs.
So, how do you promote member loyalty and promote effective engagement in a virtual environment?
Try these four (4) strategies:
1. Ensure Integration Into Existing Member Workflows
Engagement is now required instead of encouraged. How else would they find out the latest information, register for events, etc.? For the member, this moves the technology from a “nice to have” to a “need to have.”
2. Open The Communication Loop
3. Highlight Member Engagement, Growth, and Achievement
Give your members a pat on the back in front of all their peers. Highlight recent awards achieved by members, provide insight on new opportunities for professional development, and help establish virtual mentor/mentee relationships.
4. Enhanced Social Strategy
Remember, your Association should be marketing to your current members as hard as you work to recruit new members. Take excerpts of content that you are sharing on your current social channels and allow those posts to facilitate meaningful collaboration between current members inside your platform. You would be amazed at the more in-depth responses you will get from members when they know they are in a safe/secure environment versus posting on social media for the whole world to see. Additionally, allow excerpts of content to serve as recruitment driver for new members (full versions only available inside your platform for members).
The simple answer to improve membership retention is to provide more value and engage members. It’s going to take more than just a technology tool to accomplish lasting value and success.